Anal cancer is a condition in which malignant (cancer) cells develop in the anus tissues.
Stool (solid waste) leaves the body through the anus, which is located below the rectum at the end of the large intestine. The anus is made up of parts of the body’s outer skin layers and parts of the intestine. The anal entrance is opened and closed by two ring-like muscles called sphincter muscles, which allow stool to travel out of the body. The anal canal, which runs between the rectum and the anal entrance, is around 1-1.5 inches long.
Anal cancer can be identified by bleeding from the anus or rectum, as well as a tumor near the anus.
- Bleeding from the rectum or anus.
- Near the anus is a bump.
- Around the anus, there is pain or pressure.
- The anus causes itching or a discharge.
- An alteration in bowel habits.
- Itching in the rectum or around it.
- In the anal area, there is pain or a feeling of fullness.
- Stool narrowing or other bowel movement alterations.
- Stool incontinence (loss of bowel control).
- Lymph nodes are swollen in the anal or groin regions.
Anal cancer can sometimes go undetected for a long time. However, bleeding is frequently the initial symptom of the condition. In most cases, the bleeding is modest. Most people believe the bleeding is caused by hemorrhoids at first (swollen and painful veins in the anus and a bleeding rectum). Hemorrhoids are a relatively common and benign source of rectal bleeding.
Because anal cancer develops in a section of the digestive tract that doctors can see and reach, it is frequently detected early. Patients with signs of early-stage anal cancer are more likely to see their doctor, albeit not everyone has symptoms.